February 23, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

Grandma’s Favorite Family Reunion Recipes

There are certain recipes that belong at a family reunion. And even if Grandma can’t be at a family gathering in person, her spirit lives on through her recipes, from her famous fried chicken to crowd-favorite peach cobbler. We’ve compiled a list that we believe will make the ultimate reunion meal that the entire family will expect to see, from the Southern Sweet Tea to Ham Delights to Eclair Cake. There is something to satisfy every cousin and relative including the picky eaters that usually don’t like anything as well as those who love Southern recipes that aren’t as well known, like Pig Pickin’ Cake. Make this year’s celebration extra special by preparing a few tried-and-true Southern recipes that won’t disappoint.

Southern Living

A Southern staple like Mama’s Fried Chicken is a necessary part of every celebration, even the annual reunion.

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

No guest will go home hungry when you serve our Reunion Pea Casserole. Hidden in this multi-generational favorite are layers of sausage, black eyed peas, cheese, and just about everything else you could ever dream of.

Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Homemade Baked Beans are the very best and this recipe is no exception. We do cheat a little bit in this recipe by using 4 cans of pork and beans in the tomato sauce, but would it really be a special family recipe without a canned ingredient?

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

The goodness of these ham rolls is in the name. Slathered in butter, covered in cheese and ham, few bites are as rich and delicious as one of a Ham Delight.

Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

This oven-roasted version of the summery treat is easy to make for a crowd. Simply cover the corn in a butter spread, wrap in tin foil, and let bet in the oven.

Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

It’s the most searched for casserole recipe in the South, so of course our Old-School Squash Casserole had to be on this list. A side dish that truly goes with everything, you can’t go wrong when serving this favorite.

Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

Tried-and-true, Tomato Pie makes a statement on any table, but this Heirloom Tomato Pie is a modern twist on the savory pie. Fresh basil and chives lend themselves to the elevated flavors of this dish.

Emily Laurae/Southern Living

You just can not go wrong with Tee’s Famous Corn Pudding. It comes together in just three steps and we promise that everyone at the reunion will be coming back for seconds.

Photographer: Stacy K. Allen. Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

We call this Best-Ever Macaroni And Cheese for a reason, but don’t just take our word for it: Read the comments from our reviewers – it’s a staple in many households for good reason.


Out of all the recipes on this list, this one might meet Grandma’s approval the most. While people from other parts of the world might be hard pressed to call this side a salad, we know in our Southern hearts that Strawberry-Pretzel Jello Salad is salad in its purest form.

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Potatoes are the favorite guest at many get togethers, and Hashbrown Casserole never disappoints. Crushed cereal and melted butter add just the right touch of crunch to this cheesy dish.

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Adding a little something extra sweet to fruit can elevate even the simplest dessert, and this Cheesecake Fruit Salad takes that sprinkle of sugar to the next level. With cream cheese, frozen whipped topping, and other tasty layers, this is a treat that is best served cold.

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Clair Spollen; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Planning ahead for a potluck? Southern Shrimp Pasta Salad can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time, and is sure to please all of the seafood lovers at your party.

Southern Living

The finishing touch to any feast, Pig Pickin’ Cake is a fun, fruity cake that many Southerners know and love. A secret trick that makes this cake one of the easiest you’ve ever made? Start with boxed cake mix.

Jen Causey

This Macaroni Salad With Ham comes together in two simple steps. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and ham prove that letuice doesn’t always deserve a place in salads.

Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

No gathering is complete without a cool glass of Southern Sweet Tea. Our recipe has a secret that makes it just a touch clearer than other versions.

Molly Bolton/Southern Living

Graham crackers, pudding, and a layer of chocolate are simple ingredients that are transformed into an irresistible cake. Make sure to make this cake ahead of time so that the layers set and the graham crackers become soft.

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

Slaw is a staple, and this Permanent Slaw stays around for far longer than the others. It’s staying power, which relies on a combination of veggies and vinegar, has this slaw lasting for up to seven days.

Dotdash Meredith

Our Southern-Style Potato Salad has the Grandma-approved addition of hard boiled eggs, which makes it stand out compared to most store-bought versions. A 1/2 cup of sour cream adds an extra touch of tang.

Photography: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Out of all the things to bring to a potluck, Pound Cake is always a million dollar choice. Bring a side of macerated strawberries, whipped topping, and a sauce to really wow with this recipe.

Photography: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

From Thanksgiving to outdoor potlucks, there is one thing a Southerner knows for certain: Expect to see Deviled Eggs. This traditional take is just like a recipe from your family’s recipe card.

Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Sometimes we need a good, old-fashioned recipe to remind us just how good something can be. Our Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding is the perfect thing to pack in your casserole carrier and take to your party.

Jennifer Davick

An elegant addition to any gathering, Tarragon Chicken Salad has just the right amount of unique seasoning to make it a star. Fresh flavors like lemon and Granny Smith apple slices make this an extra unique dish.

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

A summer potluck calls for Fresh Peach Cobbler. While, everyone might say they are full from the grand potluck dinner, you can be sure they saved room for this dessert. Serve a-la-mode or just plain.

Laurey W. Glenn

The Make-Ahead Yeast Roll are the perfect addition to the potluck table for layering with slices of ham or sopping up leftover slaw.